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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:42 pm 
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Shorah everyone!

Here are the photos from the Ladron-Magdalena field trip.

===

Ladron Peak to Magdalena

Sunday 15 June 2014

It's time to travel the trail I'd missed on my last trip, so to ensure I actually find it, I begin by heading southward on the interstate and searching out the trail's end at Bernardo. From there, it's easy enough to find the rural highway 60 and follow its meandering path up and around Ladron Peak, back to Riley and from there, head southward to Magdalena.

Lots of interesting views ahead!

[Reveal] Spoiler: Just off the highway, the road sign for old highway 60 is easy enough to find
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Looking back east toward the interstate, Black Butte looms in the near distance
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I quickly encounter an old girder bridge across a deep, dry wash
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road is skirting the southern borders of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A natural pond with Ladron Peak in the background to the west
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The dirt road curves northward; we will be taking the "scenic route" to Magdalena today!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A nice view of Black Butte due east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A New Mexico Thistle abloom
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road is heading north, skirting Ladron Peak to the west
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road turns westward, heading directly toward Ladron Peak for a bit...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and then resumes its northward direction, much closer to the mountain
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are healthy fields of Cane Cholla all around
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[Reveal] Spoiler: An intensely bright magenta blossom
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The road continues to skirt around the edges of the mountain as clouds roll in
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I spy an odd tank in the near distance
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The mountains now viewed from their west side looking back east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A closeup of the two most prominent peaks
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The last view before the road ducks behind a ridge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Willow Flycatcher poses with his lunch
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The mountain comes back into view to the northeast as the road continues southward
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I take a quick side trip to view a few homestead windmills
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The windmill fan tail, with a few weathered bullet holes from someone's target practice
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As I near Riley, some mountains to the southeast come into view
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[Reveal] Spoiler: An Easter vigil hilltop, on the way down the hillsides into Riley
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A lone volcanic node eroded out from the sedimentary hills
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A turn ahead toward Magdalena
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[Reveal] Spoiler: An interesting slate-like outcropping
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Passing through a wash with an old twisted Cottonwood nearby
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The remains of an old rock quarry, leaving a tantalizing "E" shape on the hillside
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I arrive in Magdalena without trouble; the old railroad depot is near the backroad turnoff
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A historic marker telling the Riley backstory
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[Reveal] Spoiler: An old warehouse, nicely restored
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Some lovely detailing of a nearby building complex, built sometime in the 1800s
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[Reveal] Spoiler: More detailing, with more recent changes overlaid
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I head eastward toward Socorro and encounter some magnificent lava mesas to the north...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and to the south
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I pause in Socorro long enough to get a few photos of the M Mountain range
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As I head northward again on the interstate, I spy an interesting formation to the west
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I pause at the La Joya Wildlife Area and game reserve to snag another photo of Black Butte to the northeast
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Some Sand Penstemon, growing in profusion along the roadsides
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Although I found a most suggestive land form right at the end, its placement isn't sufficiently isolated; plus it doesn't appear to be volcanic. More research is required!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:08 pm 
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Shorah again,

In continuing to get caught up, here are the photos from last Sunday's Tomahna research road trip.

Sadly, since the forums were down, I was unable to forewarn folks to watch my Twitter feed. Nevertheless, the trip is presented here for your viewing pleasure! :)

===

San Lorenzo Canyon

Sunday 06 July 2014

After my recent research road trips, I began thinking about the relationship between the Cleft and Tomahna. I reasoned that if I could find one, it should be simpler to find the other. The events in Revelation made it clear that they were within a reasonable distance from each other.

Particularly since both Tomahna and The Lodge seem to be about the same distance from the Cleft, I've been theorizing for a while now that Atrus and Katran built their Tomahna home at the old Lodge, renaming it in the process. I've written about this at more length elsewhere, but suffice it to say that for this research road trip, I wanted to explore the Tomahna piece of the Cleft location mystery.

I'd read a bit about San Lorenzo Canyon and the few photos I'd encountered seemed a very good match for the Tomahna scenery recreated in Revelation. So now was the time to check this out for myself.

[Reveal] Spoiler: After traveling the interstate southward, I exit and continue along the frontage road until I find the right underpass
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Just on the other side to the west, I find the road signs pointing toward the dirt road leading to San Lorenzo Canyon
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The turnoff from the main dirt road has a helpful welcome sign...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and an even more helpful seasonal warning sign
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The reason for caution is clear; the road is the sandy wash itself, which is very soft and loose
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The mesa up close; ancient layers of upended sandstone get me to wondering if this is the remains of the shallow seas which once covered New Mexico
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The entry to the canyon complex
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[Reveal] Spoiler: More of the sandstone layers along the sides of the wash
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A very interesting outcropping eroding away
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After much driving about, I manage to find a safe shoulder to park; the eroded shelfs above would probably make excellent shelters and remind me distinctly of the description of The Lodge from BoT
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I wander about the main wash admiring the formations and looking for the many side canyons to the east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I pass by a spindly Desert Marigold
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Nearby, I spy a fascinating unidentified stick bush in full flower
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I wander up one of the slot canyons
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The twists and turns definitely remind me of the Stranger's ride up to visit Atrus
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Although the sandstone layers look delicate, they are hard as concrete
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I find a very interesting symbol upon one of the rock sides
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[Reveal] Spoiler: High up the canyon wall I note an inscription left by the Vandal Tribe
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Tamarisk is blooming happily in the winding wash
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Back out in the main wash, I wander farther upstream in search of more side canyons and see a big chunk coming loose in the wall above
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are hoodoos everywhere I look
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I spot a New Mexico Whiptail rustling around in the leaves near the roots of a large Cottonwood
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I find a trail leading up toward an interesting formation I'd noticed while scouting from the car; there's a Honey Mesquite branching out along the path
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There it is! A small natural cave I'd noticed from the "road"
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The cave is shallow and shows no signs of human inhabitation; the view out is lovely
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Some interesting wear on a layer in the main wash, presumably from occasional flash floods over the years
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Wandering farther "upstream", I finally find some beautiful red rock formations I'd seen from the car earlier
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I head in via a well-marked trail and encounter a Southwestern Earless Lizard watching me from the wash floor
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After following the meandering wash bottom, I head up the slopes to get a high vantage point; there are some interesting darker formations to the east...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and a breathtaking view of bright orange formations to the north, behind a nearby ridge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I start hiking along the top, trying to find my way to the orange cliffs and pass by another example of the uplifted sandstone layers
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Stopping for a brief rest, I spot a Greater Earless Lizard below in the main wash, sunning on a rock
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Continuing on, I can see Black Butte in the distance to the northeast
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Found it! The cliffs remind me of that dramatic scenery we see from the Tomahna garden sun room
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After scooting down the steep and gravelly face, the view back is stunning
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[Reveal] Spoiler: These cliffs are quite crumbly but stunningly beautiful
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Hiking down the wash from the cliffs, I look back
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A little wild acorn, tumbled down into the wash floor from the sides
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I reach a difficult-looking spot along the wash downflow...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...but find an easy way through by crawling between the fallen boulders; I stop for another rest break and enjoy the view up
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After climbing through and looking back, I can see I'd never have found the path up to the orange cliffs from below
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Another gravelly scoot downward awaits
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Back at the main wash, I notice an old honeycomb stuck in a bush... there's an interesting story about how it got there, no doubt
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading back toward the car, the cliffs are spectacular against the afternoon clouds
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A particularly beautiful hoodoo along the way
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I am surprised by a moai profile in the cliffs across the way
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Driving back out, there is some lovely dappling to the east across the Rio Grande and the skies are spectacular
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Along the road, I spot the western fenceline for the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Once back to the main road and out of the sand, I stop for a few photos of the dappling to the east and notice an apparent volcano amidst the colorful mesas
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I can see the top of Black Butte to the northeast
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading back north to a shower and dinner, a rain storm pours welcome respite into the Rio Grande valley
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:09 pm 
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great pics, Ainia :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Those are awesome pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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 Post subject: Re: Made it back!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:14 pm 
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Shorah again,

Ainia wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler: Meet Larry, Curley and Moe!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Moe and my Adventurer hat
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Tomorrow is my last research road trip before Mysterium!!! Once that is done, I'll be able to complete my new presentation which augments last September's research overview.

In honor of all this, I tracked down the fourth stooge and so will have a new traveling companion tomorrow!!

[Reveal] Spoiler: Meet the four stooges!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Shemp wearing my hat
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Stay tuned! :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:11 pm 
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Quack!

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:58 pm 
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really wonderful :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Hmm... Judging by the bill shape and colouring, I'm inclined to suggest that your "male Mallard" might in fact be a female Shoveller :?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:25 pm 
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Great pics Ainia :)

Yes the "male Mallard" is a female Shoveller.
The "Unidentified for now" is a Black-winged stilt.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Hey, thanks for all the help with the bird identification, guys!! :) This'll *really* help me get the details posted here faster (it always takes longer than I expect to get all the identifications done).

Re: the shoveler, my bad guess is one of the hazards of managing tweets in the field with an iPhone! ;) Small screen, minimal processing software and all that. However, I think it's an immature male as females don't have the dark heads. :) Which also answers another puzzle about a bird at that pond (stay tuned for details).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:16 pm 
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Shorah everyone,

Last weekend was my last research road trip before Mysterium! Although I'd been hoping to have something more definitive sorted out about this puzzle, I still think things are firming up in terms of an answer to the mystery. ;)

===

Sevilleta outskirts

Sunday 20 July 2014

The last road trip was most encouraging; I'm becoming more and more certain that San Lorenzo must be Tomahna's locale and so decide to research the power lines in the vicinity. Since the Prima Guide photo of the caldera shows some power lines stretching across the top, if I can scout out the ones in the rough vicinity of San Lorenzo Canyon, I might be able to spot the caldera...

I begin by heading south to Bernardo once again and taking Old Highway 60, this time intending to scout out some rough dirt roads to the south I'd noticed during my last trek this way.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Some summer Arizona Poppies blooming at the roadside
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I notice the deep dry wash from last trip is full of water and spot groves of blooming Tamarisk below the bridge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As I near the bridge for a better view, a flock of nesting Willow Flycatchers are spooked and circle overhead
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The formerly dry wash is swollen from recent monsoon rains
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I am heading toward Ladron Peak to find the power line roads
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Found 'em!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: As I gingerly drive southward, I see a marvelous view of Black Butte to the east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: After a couple of miles, I encounter a locked gate; the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge is beyond
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Ladron Peak is due west from the fence line
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading back north; the "road" is very rough and I must proceed carefully
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I spot a cattle pen just to the east in a wide, flat dry wash
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Next strategy is to follow a different dirt track that heads to the southwest; I'm hoping to find a navigable means to skirt the Sevilleta fence line at its west end. This new track passes by a livestock watering area...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...but comes to an abrupt end at an overlook with a marvelous view of Ladron Peak to the west
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Heading back to Bernardo, I stop by the natural pond there and spot a Western Kingbird
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are water birds aplenty here; an American Avocet preening
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Black-Necked Stilt
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Great Egret
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[Reveal] Spoiler: An immature male Northern Shoveler
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A mystery bird who seems to be napping with his head under his wing...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: ...and who finally peeks out; he seems to be another Northern Shoveler
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Back to the San Lorenzo Canyon area, I pass by the entrance road to explore farther to the northwest and find some magnificent red cliffs
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I turn around and stop after encountering a "No Trespassing" sign and see some Turkey Vultures cruising overhead
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The scudding clouds create rapidly changing light and shadows upon the cliff faces
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[Reveal] Spoiler: These cliffs are stunning
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I head back toward the entry to San Lorenzo proper
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I head up the main canyon as far as I can drive and park; happily, the sand is firmer this time since there have been several rainstorms. I head farther up the canyon on foot and encounter the first of several seeps
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A closeup of the water trickling down the rock face
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cottonwood saplings are clustered a short distance upstream
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Here, the canyon is skirting a boundary for the refuge
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Farther up the canyon, I find another seep
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The seeps are obviously popular with the local wildlife; some deer tracks in the sandy mud
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[Reveal] Spoiler: This seep trickles for quite a distance
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Another deer track farther upstream
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Desert Millipede spiral
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The last seep I encounter; the rock face is too smooth and high for me to scale it unassisted
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Garter Snake is enjoying the cool water
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I try climbing some of the steep rock faces nearby, hoping to find an alternate route up; I notice some interesting shear patterns on this huge boulder and on many of the high vertical cliff faces
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I must concede defeat for now; the only option for moving past the last seep is to backtrack and scale the cliffs somewhere more manageable. I look back and find a tantalizing view of the power lines just out of reach
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I'm tired and it's getting late anyway, so I head back down the canyon
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Greater Earless Lizard watches me from the canyon floor
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I walk by a portion of the cliff faces that remind me distinctly of the patterns in Ae'gura
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Some Trailing Fleabane along the sides
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Southwestern Earless Lizard enjoying the day atop a rock
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[Reveal] Spoiler: And a Common Side Blotched Lizard; it must be reptile day :)
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Time to head homeward
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A Hummingbird Moth enjoying dinner in my driveway; a beautiful end to an adventurous day
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After driving so many primitive dirt "roads", I ponder the passages in BoT which describe Anna and her father regularly pushing/pulling a cart across the desert terrain to a distant city. Nope, just can't see it; not after struggling to drive today's difficult, sandy terrain. Plus, it just doesn't make sense that they would have made their journey so much more difficult than necessary. Taking a cart would at least double (but more probably triple) the time required to make the trek and in crossing a desolate, unforgiving desert alone, pose an incredible risk. There's a reason those Camino Real treks from Mexico City to northern New Mexico took three years' time.

It would be far more plausible that Anna and her father either owned a pack animal who could survive by foraging the desert scrub (a burro is the most likely candidate), or they walked to Tadjinar on foot, bought their supplies along with an ox and had the ox carry everything back. Slaughtering the ox would provide meat for a good long while for them, which also would answer another question about their desert survival methods.

The desert isn't exactly brimming with wild game; hunting for meat would have taken a great deal of effort and required a large hunting range. Granted, they might have hunted while conducting their geologic research away from home... yet I rather expect hunting for meat would have been more work than it was worth considering their contract to provide Amanjira with valuable commodities. So in the end, surely they would have preferred to either raise their own meat or purchase it at the Tadjinar markets.

I'm inclined toward the ox theory myself.

Wingrovisms... *sigh*

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:56 pm 
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Best adventure yet!!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Mysterium presentation a success! Hard copies posted for perusal at your leisure:


*Note: The new presentation and narrative will be updated as needed based on audience feedback, etc. after I get home from Mysterium :)

[[Edit: fixed link typos :oops: Sorry about that folks!]]

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Last edited by Ainia on Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:21 pm 
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Hi, Ainia, your links don't work for me, unfortunately :(

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:30 pm 
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Acorn1 wrote:
Hi, Ainia, your links don't work for me, unfortunately :(

Right, same here, Ainia ... 404 Page Not Found error ... :P

P.S. I was just looking through your Relto library and couldn't find them there, but I've discovered the awesome Cyan cannen interviews, which are new for me ... very creative and nice idea, esp. to implement them the way you did technically, great job, Ainia ... :D

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